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Murder in the Desert

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I would say A is the murderer seeing he is the one who put the poision in the water causing B to cut a slit in the sack...

I think otherwise

he died from thirst, not poisoning therefor the killer is B

SIMPLE LOGIC MAN!

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Murder in the Desert - Back to the River Crossing Puzzles

This is a story about three people (A, B a C) crossing a desert. A hated C and decided to kill him - he poisoned the water in his sack (only C had water). B also wanted to kill C (not knowing that the water of C had been already poisoned) and so B made a hole into the sack of C and the water spilt out. A few days later C died of thirst.

Who was the murderer - A or B?

A hates C

B hates C

C is the only one with water

Not A or B have water

But for A poisoning C's water sack, C would have had survived

But for B poking a hole in C's sack, C would have died from A's poisoned water rather than thirst

If A had not poisoned the water, B would have succeeded, and C would have died of thirst by B's voluntary act

B was not aware that A poisoned the water.

We know nothing about whether A or B have died of thirst and thus no inference can be made

Only that C died of thirst

The actual cause of C's death is thirst

So the question is who was the murderer A or B?

Both.

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How could you charge "A" with murder if he didn't MURDER him? He TRIED to poison him by spiking the water. HE DID NOT DIE FROM BEING POISONED. He died of THIRST.. Attempted murder is when someone TRIES to kill someone, but is unsuccessful. That is what "A" did.. He TRIED to poison "C" but was unsuccessful. "B" had the intention of murdering him by ridding him of water. He had no idea that the water was already poisoned!!! His goal was simply to cut the bag, causing "C" to die from thirst. His attempt was SUCCESSFUL. "C" did in fact DIE from LACK OF WATER, NOT POISONING!!!

My conclusion stands...

A = Attempted Murder...

B = Murder

Are you really a Judge???

Hear hear! If I were a judge this ruling exactly.

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Well, my point is that intent doesn't matter. If I intend for someone to die of thirst in the desert, I am not responsible because my actions did not cause the death. Similarly, even if I started up my car and drove around looking for X to run over and someone else ran him over, I would not be a murderer (although, if caught I would be an attempted murderer).

I think in this analogue, C died as B wanted him to but as a consequence of A's actions. B just made sure it happened the way B wanted it to happen.

And hey, I just used word veracity since it is your screename... no doubting your truthfulness or the validity of your logic intended... (Just the validity of the conclusion <!-- s;) --><!-- s;) --> hehehe )... Sorry if that came across the wrong way... Or maybe we should argue the semantics of the word 'veracity' instead <!-- s:) --><!-- s:) -->)

Cheers!

--

Vig

P.S. I want you to have my kids!!

Intent matter is in the legal world.

It is the basis of the mens rae element, without intent you can't prosecute

Mens rea is the guilty mind (and A and B both had the guilty mind)

Actus reas and is the physical act (A and B both acted on their guilty mind)

Causation: in criminal law you need both the proximate cause and the actual cause

Need I explain?

harm -- death from thirst "a few days later"

a person can survive without water for about a week

Both are murders (tho in what degree is a different matter)

but the question asks who was the murderer?

both A and B were.

Edited by legal geek

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Ok... let me try and make this clearer to you...

The actions of A were intended to kill C by poisoning him

C died since A depleted C's supply of DRINKABLE WATER. Once A added the poison, C had no drinkable water. C died of thirst thereby making A's actions responsible for the murder.

It is irrelevant that C did not die the way A intended for him to.

The actions of B were intended to kill C

B's actions did not play a part in killing C since B just took away poisoned water from C which was irrelevant to C's death. B's actions in no way caused C's death.

It is irrelevant that C died the way B intended for him to.

I thereby question the veracity of your conclusion.

"B's actions in no way caused C's death." Are you MAD!?!? I'm not sure I get your logic there...How is it that B did not play a part in killing C!? B cut a slit in C's water supply, not knowing that A had already poisoned it, with the intent of killing C and he succeeded in that. A's attempt to kill C with poisoned water was unsuccessful since B took away C's water supply by draining it away. You stated that A is the killer since he depleted C's "drinkable water." Though this may make sense to a point...The water can more be considered tainted. The water was still "drinkable" if you will since he could have drank it...He just would have died from it. But in my eyes for the "tainted water", C did not DRINK the tainted water and B, unknowing that the water was poisoned, cut a slit in the water supply with full intent on killing C which is what happened. He died from dehydration, not from poisoning.

So I hearby stand by Veracity's conclusion.

A: Attempted murder by poisoning

B: Murder by slitting C's water supply causing dehydration

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I don't know if anyone else sees it like this, but this sounds like a common senario: someone has the ability to prevent or report a crime but don't, making them accomplises after the fact. This may not make sense if you think of both attempt as seperate, but what if you think of them as a whole? Try this:

After B cuts C's water sack, A will know who cut it (assuming C is sane). Because he knew B cut the sack, the direct cause of death, but said nothing, he is an accomplise and thus just as guilty of B's sucessful attempt as his own unsucessful attempt. This only works one way, as A poision would never be discovered by B unless A confessed.

In conclusion:

B: Guilty of murder in the first degree

A: guilty of murder after the fact, guilty of attempted murder

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It's easy to say that, since C died of thirst and B deprived him of his liquid sustenance, B is the murderer. It seems logical. If you find a dead guy with a bullet in his head and a living guy with a gun in his hand, the bullets match, etc, then B is the murderer. But that's not necessarily so. It could be that C already had the bullet in his head, and B was simply found with the gun. Suppose B had no intent to kill, but C was found with a cut bag and B was found with a razor. Initially, you'd think that B was guilty, done and done, ship him off to jail and bring on the next riddle. If you analyze the soil where the water spilled out, however, you'd see that the water was poisoned before B got to him. So, B didn't do anything to kill C. C was already dead the moment A put poison in his water.

Ultimately though, there are multiple sides to this coin. I suppose, from the moral standpoint, intent to kill would be enough to convict A and B. From a legal standpoint, there are several occurrences:

Neither A nor B guilty: I would guess this would be the case. Find a guy dead from dehydration in the middle of the desert, who are you going to blame? The idiot for going into the desert in the first place. I think that alone is enough of an alibi to get A and B off scot-free. Maybe. They'd need a good lawyer. Also, because it's (obviously) not as clear cut as "A had a sword and C is cut cleanly in two", it might simply be impossible to determine.

A attempted murder, B innocent: A poisoned C's water, but C didn't die of poison. If you attack from that angle...

A murder, B innocent: A deprived C of drinkable water. From that point on, C was going to die of dehydration or poison. B could have added more poison or removed all the poisoned water and it wouldn't have mattered. The only thing B could have done was hastened C's death, but since C was already deprived of drinkable water and B cut the water sack AFTER A poisoned it, B did not hasten C's death.

A innocent, B attempted murder: I'm actually not sure if this situation would hold up. A could claim innocence if no trace of poison was found, and that's a big 'if'. However, if A was innocent, it falls on B to prove that he is not guilty of murder, yet retain the limits if this situation and still be guilty of attempted murder. It seems to me that if B was to be innocent of murder but guilty of the attempt, it would have to be shown that his attempt failed. The only way I could think that could occur would be if the water was poisoned (which forces A to be guilty of attempted murder) or if it could somehow be shown that the desert would have caused dehydration regardless of B depriving him of water. Kind of a weak angle.. but I suppose it's possible.

A innocent, B murder: If no poison was found and C was found with a cut water sack.. well, this angle has been repeated ad nauseum.

A and B attempted murder: Well, obviously. This would probably be another likely outcome in a court of law, but again, IANAL.

A and B murder: I think Legal Geek touched on this. Both had intent and acted on that intent. Legal Geek had a nifty Latin phrase for that. While it's kind of flimsy with C not being poisoned and not having any drinkable NOT because of B's actions.. I think it's still possible that they could both be tried and convicted of murder.

What really throws a wrench into all of this is who knows of what. B didn't know that the water was poisoned. If he did, it would completely change things. C didn't know that the water was poisoned either, and it could be that A and C never found out that B cut the bag.

In the end, no matter what happens to A and B, reading all of this and thinking about all of it has been enjoyable and a really great mental exercise.

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im unsure as to if this point has been previously added because i dont fancy reading 11 pages at the moment . arguing semantics, C killed C by making A and B hating him. - one answer

and

some people are calling B the murder and arguing that even tho he lengthened C's life it is irrelivant, if we asume that the poison would have killed C in 1 day and the lack of water killed him after 3 days, does a doctor who kills someone after a year to prevent their imminent death murder him? a man living a week has an opperation where the doctor garentees his death after 2 weeks however allowing him life for a week. in no way can this be classed as murder and i put forward the most logical answer would like in A as the murderer B as the acomplace and C as the initator.

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he was going to die anyways....... t-e-a-m-w-o-r-k go teamwork... it was poisened just in case he took a sip and if he didnt the he had no water- but another thing if he was the only to have water- how did a and b live....... they killed thereselves

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It's easy to say that, since C died of thirst and B deprived him of his liquid sustenance, B is the murderer. It seems logical. If you find a dead guy with a bullet in his head and a living guy with a gun in his hand, the bullets match, etc, then B is the murderer. But that's not necessarily so. It could be that C already had the bullet in his head, and B was simply found with the gun. Suppose B had no intent to kill, but C was found with a cut bag and B was found with a razor. Initially, you'd think that B was guilty, done and done, ship him off to jail and bring on the next riddle. If you analyze the soil where the water spilled out, however, you'd see that the water was poisoned before B got to him. So, B didn't do anything to kill C. C was already dead the moment A put poison in his water.

I respectfully disagree with a few of your points as well as your analogy. B was not "found with a razor" denying he had anything to do with it. They obviously did not analyze the sand where the water poured out ...etc, etc. this is all pure fabrication. The ONLY facts you have are stated in the puzzle.

Ok, so look at the facts, as stated in the riddle. A tried to kill C (intent and action). B tried to kill C (intent and action) unaware that A had already tried. These are the facts. At MINIMUM they are both attempted murderers. The puzzle is not asking who is an attempted murderer...so we must go on...

C was definitely NOT dead the moment A put poison in his water. YOU may believe him to be AS GOOD AS DEAD following some assumptions (again, not facts)...assuming that the poison a) would have killed him at all and b) the poison would have killed him BEFORE he was found ( a few days later apparently ). If he was ALREADY dead then someone else must have killed him. He was still alive (even if he may have already getting sick due to the poison...again an assumtion...for all we know the poison was completely ineffective) when B cut the bag...this can be deduced because if he were already dead there would be no reason to cut the bag....remember that B cut the bag with the intent of killing C.

This is an interesting puzzle...but I look to cause and effect...no water caused him to die of dehydration (fact). B caused the no water. B caused the death.

Had B not cut the bag, then the poison might have caused him to die of poisoning (we at least know he DID NOT die of poisoning). A administered the poison. A might have caused the death with no activity from B.

B caused his death...murderer.

A attempted to cause his death...attempted murderer.

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Could it not be argued that on some level C was responsible for the deaths of all three? If we assume "only C had water" to mean that C was the only one with any form of liquid, then it could be argued that he was in charge with supplying water to A, B, and himself. When A poisoned the water, A was not only attempting to kill C, but also B and himself. When B slit the sack, he was not only attempting to kill C, but also A and himself. Both of these situations seem like A and B are not sane at the time of the crime. The question is what was C's responsibility? If C was in charge of the water supply, he would on some level be responsible for anything that happens to the water, be it poisoned by A or poisoned by a desert plant that found it's way into the sack, or if the sack was cut by B or cut by a thorn bush. It seems that C's carelessness with their only supply of water condemned all three of them to death.

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Look, intents aside, here is my summary ...

C died because he was an idiot. I think it was suicide. He intentionally tries to cross a desert with two people that want him killed? Either he was stupid, or he meant to do that. Then, he only packs one bag of water?? To cross a desert?

Guys, C didn't want to kill himself, so he hired A & B to kill him for him. That way he wouldn't know what happened. That's the only real logical answer for why A & B didn't take water, too. They had no intention of crossing the desert. They were going to go back home before it was over. A poisoned C, per C's wish to make sure A would kill him; B cut the water source, per C's wish to make sure B would kill him.

I think it was an insurance scam. Guy has low self-esteem, finds out he's worth more dead than alive, can't kill himself or insurance won't pay, gets someone to kill himself for him so that his family gets money. Certainly our closet CSI's on this list would've come up with the same thing.

Case closed.

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only if C knew that his water had been contaminated could you blame A for depleting the drinking source

I had to read a lot of posts before I found one that matched my thinking!

We don't know if C knew his water was poisoned. We only know that B didn't know that the water was poisoned (which likely resulted in B's death if he took a swig before he cut the sack)

If C DID know the water was poisoned, then A is the murderer

If C DID NOT know the water was poisoned, then B is the murderer.

Of course, there are other facts that are not present that might change things.

Did C try to take a drink and find the sack empty or was he trying,

to his own detriment, to be too conservative with the water?

Perhaps A took a drink before he poisoned the water, enabling him to

survive while both B and C died.

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Both A & B are stupid, they have doomed themselves

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I would say A is the murderer seeing he is the one who put the poision in the water causing B to cut a slit in the sack...

No one can be charged with murder here.

This is because-

No one can prove that B cut the sack (B won't say he did); A don't have any proof for that and B can also say it was A.

Similarly no one can prove that A poisoned the water.(B didn't knew that thing) and moreover A can put that allegation on B also.

So both will come out free.

Can any one oppose this theory???

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It doesn't matter what the courts say. All the question is asking is who murdered man C. Even though A used poison, B cut a whole in it, which made C die, therefore B is the murderer. Attempted murders have nothing to do with what the riddle is asking.

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Actually, since C was the only one with water, and he died from thirst, you would have to conclude that A & B must both have perished from dehydration before C since they had no water at all. So they can't be held responsible anyway.

It doesn't actually say A poisoned the water, it says he posioned the water. Techinically it could be A or C. B cut the bag true. The reason A and B hated C would make sense since they are freakin thirsty. The murderer is the sun, or who ever dropped them off in the desert which may be themselves A, B and C are all guilty.

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As a lawyer, I can say that most people are right. A is guilty of attempted murder and B is guilty of murder. Mens rea (intent) is important here-- but most importantly, while A attempted to kill C, the actions of B constituted an intervening and superseding act which extinguishes A's liability for commission of the crime. In order for guilt to attach, there must be causation of 2 types: (1) "cause in fact" which is a "but for" test; and (2) "proximate causation" which is a test of "foreseeability".

(1) CAUSE IN FACT: A is only guilty if C would not have died BUT FOR A's action. That is completely untrue in this case. C would have died regardless of whether or not A poisoned the water because there was no water left to drink due to B's actions.

(2) PROXIMATE CAUSATION: Consequences must be "foreseeable" for A to be held guilty. While A did intend to kill C, there was no way for A to foresee that B would intervene by cutting a hole in the bag causing C to die of thirst. Both the means of death and the intervening act were completely unforeseeable.

Bing, bang, boom. A is not a murderer. The defense rests.

Edited by pettifogger

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Murder in the Desert - Back to the River Crossing Puzzles

This is a story about three people (A, B a C) crossing a desert. A hated C and decided to kill him - he poisoned the water in his sack (only C had water). B also wanted to kill C (not knowing that the water of C had been already poisoned) and so B made a hole into the sack of C and the water spilt out. A few days later C died of thirst.

Who was the murderer - A or B?

Well, one thing I can say for sure: no court in the United States could convict A for murder. Attempted murder, yes. Murder, no. By way of analogy, imagine that A set up a trap in C's house to kill C. But, then C decides never to go to his house again. In fact, it turns out that C was having his house demolished, so nobody ever goes in it again. A set up a trap to kill C, but the trap was never sprung. Same facts here. A set up a trap (poisoned water), but it was never sprung (C never drank the water).

What about B? Murder? I don't think so, because B wasn't the proximate cause of C's death. Why not? Pretty simple, because nothing B did caused C to die. (Right, b/c C didn't die from NOT drinking CONTAMINATED water.) So, I don't think B is a murderer either. In most US States, I believe that B would be guilty of attempted murder, based on a "mistake of fact" theory. For example, B tries to shoot C. B thinks the gun is loaded with bullets, but it turns out to only be blanks. I believe that in most or all US States that's attempted murder.

A separate question is who is liable for the civil act called "wrongful death" (think: Goldmans' lawsuit against OJ). Here, perhaps we have multiple independent causes. If A hadn't done what he did , C would have died anyway b/c of what B did. And vice versa. I think that in most US States a jury could find both A and B liable for C's death.

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I think A and B both died because they didn't have any water, then C kept walking and he found the oasis of the desert with very fresh water and he lived a happy life.

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If C doesnt get water from any other source, both A & B equally attempted to murder C. But my question is why will they do when only C has water ? Wont A and B die because of thirsty as C does ?? Wont they think the same before poisoning or making hole ?

However when C gets thirsty, he wants to drink water first. by any chance if he had got water thro some other source or nearby oasis, then C is clearly a culprit superseding A.

Also what about the camels over the deserts ? C could have used camels milk or find out another oasis. Did A & B notice those oasis or camel milks or any water source earlier only ? If A is poisoning how come B didnt notice or when B made hole and water spilled, how come A didnt notice.. there are lots of questions..

therefore i conclude this question is illogical itself and good for just argument or it can be used with various assumptions and can be used as a good start for a novel ) lol

-Vinoth

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Guys, I still say it was an assisted suicide. All the items of the puzzle are illogical taken apart from that. Only one source of water? Poisoning the only source of water? How on earth did A & B expect to survive themselves?

No ... only explanation that satisfies these quirks of motive is that C wanted to be killed, but in a non-obvious manner. Thus, he arranges to travel across a desert and asks A & B to make sure he is killed somewhere along the way in a way that would not appear to be suicide. A & B work together so that there is plausible deniability on either party (one says "but the other guy cut the water", the other says "but I didn't poison him", ...). Then, C is killed, so he collects insurance money and his beneficiaries are "taken care of". The reason A & B didn't provide for themselves ... they knew they wouldn't be crossing the desert. The evidence doesn't lie.

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Both are guilty-B) for the physical aspect of sabotaging the water bag and directly contributing to C's death. A) would also be construed as guilty int hat he knowingly/physically placed the poison in the attempt to erridadicate C. Even though he was foiled by B his intent was clear.

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it was B cuz A tried to kill B by poisoning "the water" nothing says that the water was C's could they have been near an oasis or could A have found a cactus???

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Ultimately, C dies of THIRST, therefore B is the murderer. A would only be the murderer if C died from poisoning.

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